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and jamie foxx. from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden, and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," january 2nd, 2013. good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. tonight we begin with a twisted tale of romance gone deadly wrong. today, opening arguments began in the shocking murder trial of a 32-year-old woman who stands accused of an unbelievably violent crime. slashing, stabbing and shooting her one-time boyfriend. since her arrest, her story of what happened that night has shifted dramatically, and soon, her life could depend on which version a jury believes. here's abc's ryan owens. >> reporter: she may have won this jailhouse christmas carolling contest, but jody arias may have a much tougher
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time winning over a jury. >> this is not a case of whodunit. the person who committed this killing sits in court today. >> reporter: the 32-year-old who faces the death penalty cried today as prosecutors laid out their opening arguments, detailing for the jury in phoenix, arizona, how she allegedly murdered her one-time boyfriend travis alexander in june of 2008. prosecutors say the soft spoken arias attacked travis in a jealous rage as he showered. stabbing him 27 times, slitting his throat, and then shooting him in the head. >> mr. alexander did not die calmly. he fought. >> reporter: arias also wiped away tears as her attorney painted a different picture, of an abused woman who was forced to kill in self-defense. and a victim who claimed to be a devout mormon but was really a sexual deviant. >> in just those two minutes,
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jody had to make a choice. she would either live or she would die. >> reporter: this twisted tale has everything. today, the jury saw steamy photos of the victim in the shower just before he was killed. there's also a sex tape of the couple together, and a series of jailhouse interviews when arias repeatedly denies she killed anyone. >> i didn't hurt travis. i would never hurt travis. i would be shaking in my boots right now if i had to answer to god for such a heinous crime. >> reporter: the two met at a work conference six years ago. jody says they fell in love and traveled the country. family members say travis was a devout mormon and didn't believe in premarital sex. they say he lost his virginity to jody. she even converted to mormonism to show her devotion, but their romance only lasted a few months. travis tried to break it off, telling his friends -- >> she's not who i want to marry. there's nothing about her that i see in marriage material or wife material. >> reporter: travis's friends say jody stalked him in the
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months leading up to the murder, after she found out he had started dating other women. >> one night his tires were slashed. and it obviously wasn't an accident. and we all knew it was jody. that had done it. but can't prove it. >> reporter: but prosecutors say they can prove a lot, starting with the fact that this accused murderer can't keep her stories straight. >> i had no part in it. >> reporter: two weeks after those jailhouse interviews when she denied being at travis's house the night of the murder, jody arias told the tv show ""inside edition"" something quite different. >> i witnessed travis being attacked by two other individuals. >> who? >> i don't know who they were. i couldn't pick them out in a police lineup. >> reporter: that story didn't hold up long either, especially once detectives found a camera in travis alexander's washing machine. police believe jody deleted a series of photos from it, then literally tried to wash away the
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evidence. but forensic teams recovered the camera's memory card. what was on it, today the jury saw a series of pictures of the couple having sex the day of the murder. >> mr. alexander was very much alive, and yes, they were going at it. >> reporter: but that's not all. next, the jury saw a series of pictures taken a few hours later of a naked travis posing in the shower. then seconds after that, a couple of pictures that looked like they were accidentally snapped showing travis's bloody body, and then after it appears someone dropped the camera, a snapshot of jody arias dragging his body. which brings us to her latest story, the one her attorney began telling the jury today. >> had jody not chosen to defend herself, she would not be here. >> reporter: jody now says she did kill travis, but only in self-defense. she says he got enraged when she dropped his new camera.
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yes, the one with all of the evidence on it and then threatened to kill her. in fact, she claims he was sexually and physically abusive to her throughout the relationship. her attorney showed the jury this t-shirt she says illustrates travis's sense of ownership of jody. >> there's not any evidence of all the women that travis has ever dated in his life, not one of them has ever come forward and said when our relationship broke up, he was angry, he showed violence. it was just not in his nature. it's just not his personality. and the evidence is very clear that he was obviously in a defensive mode. >> reporter: still, it's up to the prosecution to prove this wasn't a case of self-defense. >> the law in arizona does make it tougher for prosecutors to effectively disprove self-defense, but with these facts, i don't think that's going to be particularly difficult. >> reporter: jody arias remains as confident today as she was
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the day she was arrested. >> no jury is going to convict me. >> reporter: why not? >> because i'm innocent and you can mark my words on that one, no jury will convict me. >> reporter: the prosecutor ended his arguments by playing that clip for the jury. it will be their job to decide if the accused murderer who keeps changing her tune -- ♪ a thrill of hope >> reporter: is guilty and whether she should die for the crime. i'm ryan owens for "nightline" in phoenix. >> fascinating trial. our thanks to ryan owens. just ahead, watch out for those teeth. we join the alligator wrestlers going face to snout with some of america's most dangerous predators. [ stefan ] with a cold or flu, nighttime nasal congestion can be the worst part. my medicine alone doesn't always give me all the congestion relief i need to sleep. [ female announcer ] adding breathe right nasal strips can make all the difference. it's proven to instantly relieve cold or flu nasal congestion.
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"nightline" continues from new york city with cynthia mcfadden. weighing in at over 200 pounds with giant jaws designed to crush bone, they are one fearsome backyard pet. giant alligators have become a domestic nuisance in some parts of the swampland and gator hunters make it their plan to get them. >> reporter: you think to yourself, so what if it's a 230-pound gator, its mouth is taped. plus, i'm with professional alligator wrestlers, there's no way i'm going to squeal. luckily, i'm with the gator boys. this motley pair of gator whisperers of sorts. >> you ready? >> yeah, up. >> reporter: three grown men carrying a nine-foot slab of prehistoric muscle and teeth. >> oh, i think it just touched his private parts.
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>> reporter: paul and jamie's love for fighting gators is so powerful, they're actually rescuing this beast with a bite that can crush a car just to save his skin, literally. so for them, it's either this or being shot? >> yeah, turn into a suitcase, a handbag. a nuisance gator has to be kept in captivity or destroyed. >> reporter: have you guys ever had to shoot one? >> no. we started the rescue and that's what we love to do. >> reporter: so you guys are like gator bounty hunters. >> in a way. >> there's no bounty, though. >> reporter: with no natural predators, they're proliferating, and with housing developments creeping into the everglades -- >> he's been coming back and forth for quite a while now and i've got all my nieces and nephews here. >> reporter: their rescue services are in high demand. the gator boys are releasing this nuisance gator they trapped in someone's backyard here at the homestead alligator farm in
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the everglades. >> there are hundreds of alligators. >> reporter: and we're unprotected. >> all they have to do is go over the rocks. >> reporter: they're numbered in the low millions. the biggest ones can weigh up to a thousand pounds, beasts few would tangle with. which is thousand duo landed the starring role in the animal planet show "gator boys." their schtick is that they get closer to gators than seems safe, offering some close calls. these days they're tracking gators in the mississippi mud. they're distinguished by a their immunity to fear and trademark quirks. >> reporter: you wrestle gators. i understand there's a toughness. but the no shoes, man. >> since i started wrestling alligators, i did start with shoes on when i was 11 years old. and it didn't feel right. you didn't have the right footing. so i started going barefooted. >> reporter: no props, that's
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real blood. you guys are the epitome of don't try this at home. >> exactly. >> reporter: how many years collectively of experience do you guys have in this? >> well over 30 collectively. >> reporter: how many bites collectively? >> i have seven total. >> so over probably 40. >> reporter: on this day, the gators boys have two gators to does pose of this nine-foot monster and this little guy. >> because he's under four feet, we can release him into the wild. >> reporter: this guy can't do much damage. >> if this guy bit you and kept spinning, it's going to pop a finger off. >> reporter: glad the tape is on. so we head out to the heart of the everglades and release the little guy. a lot of people don't understand how or why anybody would love a gator. how could you love these cold-blooded killers? >> it's kind of like a love-hate relationship. we love them, but this alligator wouldn't think twice about biting you again. >> i don't like fuzzy things and puppies. i like sharks, snakes, gators.
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>> reporter: collectively, they have 30 years experience wrestling gators to which there's actually a method to the madness. we head back to the gator farm. >> what you want to do is get in front of him. >> reporter: are you serious? i'm not doing this. to safely trap a gator, one must tire it out first. but quickly, this gator tires me out. >> drop the tail and go straight to the neck. >> reporter: a titanic battle, gator flunky -- >> you're going to get bit. >> reporter: i'm matt gutman in the everglades. >> our thanks to matt gutman. next up, the most buzzed about and controversial movie of the season, an exclusive interview with the director and stars of "django unchained." [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of.
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why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor.
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this awards season, the name on everybody's list seems to be django, the controversial gun-slinging blockbuster just scooped up five golden globe nominations and is on its way to becoming the most successful
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quentin tarantino movie at the box office. but its rave reviews have been accompanied by plenty of criticism. now a preview of our exclusive "nightline" interview. it is one of the best reviewed but most controversial movies of the year. quentin tarantino's "django unchained." >> what's your name? >> django. the d is silent. >> i sat down with tarantino and two of the film's stars, leonardo dicaprio and jamie foxx, for their only joint interview about this movie. which defies classification. an epic revenge fantasy -- >> i like the way you die, boy. >> romantic western. it's also surprisingly funny. a shock given the topic. slavery. >> anyone bring any extra bags? >> no, nobody brought an extra bag. >> i'm just asking. >> one critic said recently there is something for everyone to hate in this film.
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and something to make everybody mad. >> i don't think you do a film like this with quentin tarantino and not expect that. i think it's what you sign up for. a black person i was talking to says the "n" word bothered me. i said it's supposed to. >> what's your name? >> django. >> then you're exactly the one i'm looking for. >> foxx plays a freed slave on a blood-soaked mission to free his wife played by kerry washington. tarantino is explosive, loaded with violence and more than a hundred uses of the "n" word. >> i don't think anybody is actually going out there saying that we use the word more excessively than it was used in 1858 in mississippi. if that's not the case, then they can shut up. >> dicaprio plays the truly despicable kelvin. >> a fight that's a good bit of fun. >> plantation owner and all around bad guy who uses the "n"
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word repeatedly. >> i've got to say the first day onset was incredibly difficult for me. jamie was there. >> i'll speak on that. i watched and he knows -- he said -- it was just funny. whew! i said what's the deal? he said it's tough. i said you know what? you're human. it's supposed to be tough. you're not supposed to feel like that's normal in 2012, 2013. samuel jackson quickly said hey, mf, get over that, it's just another tuesday for us. let's get going. >> the language is hard for us as actors and some of the things that my character does are obviously atrocious. but, you know, they both sat me down, sam jackson -- we were all signature around. if you don't take this character to the utter extreme, if you don't speak the truth about the way we were treated at that time, you know, people are going to think this is sugar coated, that you're not telling the
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truth. >> and then there's the violence. tarantino has never shied away from it, from "pulp function" to inglorious basterds. but even by his standards this film is particularly bloody, especially as it's being released in the shadow of the sandy hook massacre. does the director think violence he puts on the screen makes real violence more likely? >> the fact that people will be wasting time talking about the violence in movies or in comic books or in video games and not dealing with what obviously is a real problem is very problematic to me. it's nothing new. in shakespeare's time, he was blamed all the time for the anarchy in the streets. there's violence in the streets, who do you blame? the playmakers. because it's easy to blame them. >> they have a lot more to say in my full interview next
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tuesday. the film is in theaters now. thanks for watching abc news. good night, america. >> dicky: up next on "jimmy kimmel live," kirstie alley. >> we can't have sex, because i don't want to be a whore! >> dicky: james salmoni. >> do they bite? >> a little bit. >> that's how people get eaten. that's what happened to either siegfried or roy. >> dicky: and music from tyler bryant and the shakedown.

ABC January 2, 2013 11:35pm-12:00am PST

News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Bill Weir. (2013) New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Gators 6, Us 4, Ryan Owens 3, Quentin Tarantino 3, Tarantino 3, Cynthia Mcfadden 3, Travis Alexander 2, Arizona 2, Jamie Foxx 2, Jody Arias 2, Stefan 2, Phoenix 2, Matt Gutman 2, America 2, Abc 2, Mississippi 2, Centrum 2, Mr. Alexander 2, Daniel 1, Jody 1
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Duration 00:25:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
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Pixel width 1280
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